Letters to the Prison - Week 121

Hello, everyone.  We’re studying John 11.  Last week, we saw Jesus doing the unexpected.  Do we expect that Jesus will do the unexpected in our own lives?  Maybe we should!  Why?  Because, as we will see in this chapter, God’s good and loving plans for us go far beyond anything we could ever imagine or expect for ourselves.  His ways are higher (Isaiah 55:9).
On the way to seeing God’s good and loving plan for Lazarus unfiold, Jesus has a very important lesson for his disciples.  They’ve questioned the wisdom of returning to Judea (John 11:8) so soon after the attempt made on Jesus’ life there (John 10:31).  Look how Jesus replies:
•“Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”-John 11:9-10
We could consider this statement for a long time and find many valuable lessons.  The short version of one of those lessons is this:  Jesus walks confidently “in the day” knowing that he is on God’s appointed timetable following his perfect will.  So, he can safely return to a place where people want to murder him at God’s appointed time for God’s appointed purposes.  How does that apply to us?  Are we capable of walking with such confidence through our lives?  John himself has an answer.  Having walked with Jesus and experienced this whole event first-hand, he offers us a perfect and perfectly challenging way to understand how Jesus intends us to apply what he has just said:
•5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.-1 John 1:5-7
We may not know what God’s perfect plan is for our lives, and we could waste a lot of time guessing what the plan is.  But instead, we should recognize that we have a lot of information about how to conduct ourselves while we’re waiting for that perfect plan to unfold:  We are to walk in the light.  If God is light (he is), insofar as we are walking according to God’s word in a way that honors him --at all times and in all circumstances-- we can walk in confidence knowing that God’s perfect plan for us will prevail, even if what we’re walking through is really hard, or really painful, or we would really rather do something (anything!) else.  This goes back to what we observed last week.  It’s not about how we expect things to go or what we expect Jesus to do… it’s about his plan and how we choose to conduct ourselves even as we wonder what God’s plan is.  Interestingly, Jesus makes his plans known to his disciples right then and there:
• “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”  -John 11:11
But, even knowing the plan, the disciples still don’t get it…  they misunderstand the gravity of what’s happened to Lazarus, and they don’t yet understand what Jesus intends to do (John 11:12-13).  So, Jesus needs to be even more blunt and to the point.  And he will be.  We’ll look at his response next week.  Meanwhile, what is God up to in your life?  Do you trust him enough to follow him?  We love you!

Dean A.

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